Southwestern welcomes transfer applications from students in good standing at other law schools approved by the American Bar Association.
To apply for admission as a transfer student, the following materials must be submitted through the Law School Admission Council (LSAC), which is the preferred method, or directly to the Admissions Office:
- Application for Admission
- Official CAS Report (Southwestern will automatically request this from LSAC once we receive your application for admission)
- Official transcript from your current law school indicating grades earned
- Letter from the dean of the current law school affirming that the applicant is in good standing at the completion of the first year, is eligible to return and there are no disciplinary actions pending or currently on file
- Class rank* (indicated on transcript or letter of good standing)
- Personal statement indicating reasons for transfer
- Resume (optional)
- Letters of recommendation
*if available at time of application submission - see FAQ below for additional details.
Note: Transfer students can apply after receipt of grades from the first semester of law school. However, the majority of applicants will be required to complete the entire first year of law school before an offer of Admission is extended.
Scholarships for Transfer Students
A select number of merit scholarships of up to $20,000 are available for transfer students who have demonstrated exceptional academic promise. Criteria for these scholarships include undergraduate grade point average and Law School Admission Test scores, grade point average and/or ranking during the first year of legal studies, leadership potential and other outstanding personal accomplishments, among other factors.
All accepted transfer applicants are considered for this scholarship based upon a review of the information submitted in their transfer admissions application files. Transfer students may be eligible for other scholarships following their first year at Southwestern.
Important Transfer Information
The general law school policy regarding transfer students is as follows:
- No more than 43 semester units will be allowed to transfer to Southwestern and be counted toward the 87 units required for graduation.
- Transfer credit will be granted only for courses completed with a letter grade of at least "C."
- Credit/no credit (pass/fail) courses will not be accepted for transfer credit.
- Transfer students will receive unit-only credit at Southwestern for the full amount of their completed semester units from their former institution, within the constraints of this policy.
- A course required by Southwestern for graduation will be deemed fulfilled if the equivalent course has been completed with a letter grade of at least "C" at a transfer student's former institution.
- Transfer credit will not be granted for any course taken at a law school not approved by the American Bar Association.
- Class standing and grade point averages for Southwestern are computed solely on the basis of grades achieved while matriculated to Southwestern.
The Dean of Students will make the final determination on courses to be accepted as transfer credit for admitted transfer students.
Transfer Student Application Deadlines
Fall Entry - July 25
Spring Entry - Nov 15
Transfer Student FAQs
Q: Should I send transcripts, letter of standing and rank to LSAC for processing?
A: No. You should send all law school information directly to Southwestern. This will help reduce the processing time of your application.
Q: What if my school is not able to submit my transcripts, letter of standing and rank by July 15?
A: We understand that each law school is on a different timeline and may not have all of the information available by July 15. We will allow extra time for the submission of these items. Please contact us if information will not be available by mid-July.
Q: What is the likelihood of admission? How many students do you admit each year?
A: The size of the applicant pool varies by year, but we do not limit the number of admissions offers based on "available seats." The Admissions Committee will evaluate individual candidates and offer admission based on the strength of their application. Admission is subjective and the entirety of the application is weighed to determine admission.
Q: When will I find out which of my law school credits are transferable to Southwestern?
A: Once a student is offered admission to Southwestern, a transcript credit analysis by the Dean of Students Office determines which courses and credits are transferable. Your registration packet will include the analysis and suggested list of courses for the school year.
Q: When is the deposit due?
A: Your seat deposit is due immediately upon receipt of your admissions letter. Please make sure that we have your current mailing address and email address on file.
Q: Will I be able to participate in honors programs?
A: Yes. Information for Law Review and Law Journal can be found on the Write-on Competition page. Information for the advocacy honors programs can be found below the traditional selection criteria here.
Q: When is Orientation for transfer students?
A: The first day of classes takes place in mid-August, and Orientation for transfer students takes place the week prior. Exact dates are announced and sent to entering students each year.
Students in good standing at other American Bar Association-approved law schools, alumni, and members of the California Bar may be permitted to register for courses at Southwestern. Such individuals typically enroll in Summer Session, but may enroll in other courses offered throughout the year when space is available.
To apply for admission as a visiting student, the following materials must be submitted through LSAC (preferred) or directly to the Admissions Office:
- Application for Admission and Application Fee
- A copy of the applicant's official CAS Report on file at the current law school
- Letter from the dean of current institution affirming that the student is in good standing, indicating that there are no disciplinary actions pending or currently on file, and granting approval to take the desired course(s) at Southwestern. The letter must also indicate which semester(s) the applicant has permission to attend.
- Personal Statement indicating reasons for visit
- Resume (optional)
- Letters of recommendation (optional)
Please note: The letter of permission/standing and CAS Report must be sent directly to the Admissions Office at Southwestern by the applicant's current institution.
Visiting Student Application Deadlines
Fall Entry - July 15
Spring Entry - Nov 15
Visiting Student First Day of Class
Your first day of class will take place sometime in August.
Visiting Students - Summer
Those interested in applying as a visiting student for the Summer Session can learn more here. Summer Session applications are processed through the Registration and Academic Records Office.